Marriage

Married to a Latina – How She Inspires My Fashion Accessory Business

Johnson Accessories_2

Originally published in the May 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Maria V. Luna

When Vaughn Johnson, owner of Flawnt Accessories, looks for inspiration, he finds it just a holler away. The company features bold statement pieces for the woman who is unafraid and daring. Who encourages Johnson’s striking selections? His Latina wife.

Tell us about your relationship.

We’ve been together for many, many years. If you ask her how long, when I’m in the room, she’ll look my way and say, “Boo, tell them how long,” because she doesn’t actually know how long it’s been. My relationship is built on, in my opinion, what keeps good relationships thriving, which is COMMUNICATION. We talk about everything no matter how difficult, how harsh, uneasy or funny. We’re not afraid to be us. They say opposites attract and that’s true. We’re not completely opposite but we are opposite in a lot of ways. We balance each other out and talk each other off the ledge. We don’t get tired of each other. We continue to enjoy each other and actually look forward to being together after all these years. We can be in two separate rooms in the house, but as long as we’re both in the house we’re good—just a holler away (she loves to holler).

What are some cultural differences between your family and your wife’s family?

Besides the obvious Black American and Latin American. Soul food and Latin food. Not much at all. They both believe family comes first. They both came from urban backgrounds. They both struggled coming up—no silver spoons or privileged upbringings.

What kind of lady is your wife?

She retained a lot of her Latin roots, or should I say culture, where she likes to take care of her family, believes in keeping a clean home (I say it’s O.C.D.),very giving and welcoming. There’s not a selfish bone in her body. And we can’t forget the heat. The fiery side. She will black out on you at the drop of a dime. She’s a great wife and a wonderful friend.

How did your Latina wife inspire your fashion accessory business?

She allowed me to use her as my canvas for creativity. She believes in my visions and 99% of the time she gets it. When I share with her things that I like and my thoughts on what would work with a particular accessory, she actually likes what I put together and says, “I would wear that.” I love her adventurous side with fashion. She’s not afraid to step out the box. She doesn’t conform to the norm or trends. She likes what she likes regardless of what anyone thinks, including me.

Johnson says through trial and error he’s learned so much about becoming an entrepreneur. Here, he shares 5 tips for anyone starting their own fashion accessory business.

  1. Start small. Use a template to create your website as opposed to a custom website just to get started. There are plenty of resources available now to create an online presence. To get your products out, you don’t have to spend alot of money.
  2. Don’t follow trends. You can include trendy things in your business, but don’t make that the core of your business because they come and go fast. Don’t be afraid to be different. Lead the new wave; don’t follow it with your products.
  3. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to promote your business.
  4. Pay attention to what’s going on around you; what’s being worn by your target customer, color, size, length, etc.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Why did you buy this particular item? How much did you pay for it? Do you prefer to buy your accessories online or at a store?

MARC ANTHONY : THIRD TIME THE CHARM?

jennifer-lopez-marc-anthony-engagement

Marc Anthony never goes out of style. Shannon De Lima, 26, his on again, off again model girlfriend from Venezuela, is now going to be the next wife of this iconic singer.

Marc, 46, was previously married to former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres from 2000-2004, and Jennifer Lopez from 2004-2014. Marc has five children. The timing was curious as it was announced days after excerpts from Jennifer Lopez book touched on the relationship with Marc. An example below.

“It’s hard to bring up all this stuff because it’s like why are we talking about this because it is in the past, but we had a family and we did plan on being together for 40 years,”

she confided. “He used to talk about that all of the time and that was our goal, so that day I had to give up that dream and I think that was the hardest part of it.”

The wedding is scheduled for this November in the Dominican Republic. As Jennifer appears to be having problems dealing with being alone, Marc continues to move forward.

Is Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Marriage In Trouble?

 

1389099266_ag012420_24_beyonce-jay-z-blue-ivy-560

 

Beyonce and Jay-Z were all hugs and kisses during their Wednesday night concert in Seattle. Ever since TMZ released the video of Solange attacking Jay-Z after the MET Ball rumors began to fly that were are over, split, broken-up, or divorced. This display of affection seemed to prove otherwise.

Beyonce stated to Hollywood Life that she does not want a divorce, she’s very against it on principal. That’s why they waited so long to get married — she wanted to be a hundred percent sure. Jay and Beyonce also agreed that they would never put their daughter, Blue Ivy through a divorce. It’s been a hard couple of months, but who doesn’t have problems in their relationships?

I’m really happy to know that Beyonce and Jay Z are putting what’s most important to them a priority — their Blue Ivy

Do you think this is real or a publicity stunt? Does this dynamic duo really need the press? Can this be a mere plot to sell tickets for the “On The Run” Tour? Share your thoughts.

Love Advice: Should I Propose To My Boyfriend?

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

I’ve been dating the most wonderful guy for EIGHT YEARS now!!! Mr. Wonderful and I met in college, we live together, our families LOVE each other and they love us together. All the planets seem to be aligned – they’ve been aligned for a few years now – but Mr. Wonderful hasn’t popped the question!

The thing is that it doesn’t seem like he will either. There was a time when I brought up marriage constantly but it only pushed him away. I’m still not quite sure why he won’t ask. He never gave me a straight answer. When I stopped pressuring him about it he went back to normal.

We both come from a traditional family and I don’t see any signs of childhood trauma. ANYWAY, I say all this to say that maybe I SHOULD ASK HIM TO MARRY ME! What do you think? Should I set up a romantic getaway and get down on one knee? I feel like maybe he just needs a push. But am I pushing him down a flight of stairs? No se que hacer. Ayudame Judy.

Love Pusher,
Wendy

 

Dear Wendy,

You have given this man not 1, not 2, not 3, not 5, but EIGHT years of your life. It is wonderful that you live together and I think it’s awesome that your families mutually love each other. Now, you say the planets are aligned, but I ask what planet is he really living on? Apparently he’s not living on yours.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of my “3 rule.” It takes 3 conversations to go out on a date; 3 dates to know if you’d like to begin a relationship; 3 months to decide if you’d like to keep this monogamous; and 3 years to know if you’d like to commit. After 8 years, there should be no confusion or doubt as to what kind of wife you would be, or what kind of life you would have together.

You have to ask yourself how important is marriage to you. If it is a NECESSITY – that you don’t want to just cohabitate with someone, that you need to hear him call you his wife, then you need to confront him again. Try approaching him differently than you did last time. Do NOT NOT NOT propose to him. It is only forcing your desire on him. It is an artificial way of getting what you want, which is for HIM to FREELY commit to you. If you ask him, one day you will look back and wonder if he would have ever asked at all. If you can live with him without being married forever, if you can drop the fantasy of that wedding day, then continue as things are – but something tells me you won’t be fulfilled.

Abrazos,
Judy

Love Advice: Should I Forgive My Husband’s Infidelities?

[Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine Issue #81; September 2011]
.

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

How can I forget and forgive my husband for his actions? It has been only a few months since I found out about his affairs – which lasted over four months with three different women. One was more intense than the others. He says he has broken off all contact with them and is only with me now.

When I learned about the affairs, I had no information other than he was having one. Someone I didn’t know told me, so I did not have much to go on. I have asked my husband some questions, but he refuses to answer them. He says I should let it go and move on, that my questions will lead to no good, and if I don’t stop I’m going to push him away.

I think about what he has done and different scenarios daily and try to ignore the hurt, but it’s hard. Should I ask questions, should he answer them, and will this pain ever go away? We are “trying,” and I’m running mostly on love and the hope that our relationship will survive.

Sincerely,
In Pain in Pelham Bay

 

Dear Pain,

My dear, it is so damaging that he even had the first affair…but he had the nerve to do it three times! When you marry, you do so for better or for worse. But this behavior is one of addiction and quite frankly, it’s abusive to your emotional well-being.

I would love to tell you to stay, but I can’t. He has HURT YOU! He has been selfish. Look at what he’s doing, not what he’s saying. There may have been some problems in your marriage already, but it doesn’t give him permission to stray.

If he was truly sorry, you would have heard it straight from him, not from a total stranger. If he was truly sorry, he would have never ever dreamed of doing it again…and AGAIN. If he really feels remorse, he would do ANYTHING to fix his mess. Then he would CHANGE his behavior entirely, including you in everything he can to make you feel comfortable.

A sincere apology means he truly understands the deep extent to which you’ve really been hurt. He would do everything to win back your trust: offer to go to counseling, giving you all details about where he’s going, etc. But he wants you to forget it – put it in the past and move on. That is the talk of a man who will do it again. He’ll just be smarter about it next time.

So to answer your question, yes – you should talk about it as many times necessary until YOU feel relief. Yes – he should answer them – if he really cares that he hurt you, he will be willing to disclose it all. He cannot change what he won’t acknowledge. And yes, the pain will go away, but as long as you stay in this lifestyle of deceit, you’re destined to get more pain. I think it’s YOU who’s trying to hang in there. I give you credit for that, but he is not…he just wants you to “get over it already.”

You are his wife, and you are entitled to be number one. If he makes you anything less than that, he doesn’t deserve you. Aren’t you entitled to be number one? YES! Should you stay? NO! Don’t tolerate this one more day.

Love,
Judy

Love Advice: Meddling Mother Dearest

[Originally published for LatinTRENDS magazine December 2011 Issue #84]
.

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

I’m a 31 year old woman living in her own house. I have an advanced degree, a good job, lots of friends, and an overall great life. Last March, I met a man named Emmanuel. We got to know each other, began dating that June, and things have been going wonderfully ever since. Currently, we are exclusive with one another, but we aren’t engaged or living together. If things are still this wonderful after our 1-year anniversary, we want to take our relationship to engagement and, eventually marriage.

So, what’s the problem? In a word: my mother. Though she hasn’t met him (she lives in another state,) she feels as though he isn’t progressing fast enough, and that if he were really “in love with me” and not looking at me as just a “good time girl,” he would have moved in with me and gotten engaged to me already. I tried to explain to her that I didn’t want to rush things – and neither did he – but she says that my “advanced age” means that I should be hurrying up and getting married.

I love my mother dearly, but I just feel like she is being irrational with this rushing of this relationship, and this will eventually cause tension between everyone where there needn’t be. I love Emmanuel very much, and don’t want to risk losing him or our relationship by rushing into things. So what do you think?

Sincerely,
Reina

 

Dear Reina,

Considering the fact that you are well-educated, something tells me you already instinctively know what to do. But as your friend who cares for your happiness and well-being, here is my advice.

I’ve said this more than once here, but I’ll say it again: my mom always told me that it takes a year and a half to really truly know someone. Therefore, your decision to take things slowly is the absolute right thing to do. Why rush? Tell your mom that you know she loves you, and you’re proud that she raised you to be an intelligent and articulate woman, capable of making wise decisions. Le her know that her advice is duly noted, and you consider yourself fully warned.

Too many people today get married too quickly – sometimes as soon as 6 months after they meet – only to discover a year after marriage they got married for the wrong reasons. Almost 50% of marriages end in divorce, so to save yourself heartache AND money, take your time. You, me dear, have chosen right. If your boyfriend has the best intentions, he will wait for you.

Your mom thinks you should at least live together? Why play house without the commitment? In a year, you have a chance to develop the relationship and lay the proper foundation for marriage. You’ll have time to get to know one another intimately, you’ll have enough arguments, and you’ll learn how compatible you really are. It’s better to learn now than learn a hard and heartbreaking lesson later.

Now, the bottom line is that at the adult age of 31, you must now live your own life, make your own decisions and yes, even have the chance to make your own mistakes. You have reached a moment in your life we all dread: the day you have to disagree with Mom. Talk to her gently – and lovingly – and let her know that while you appreciate and love her, you have to follow your gut, and your gut is telling you to wait. For the record, 31 IS YOUNG to be married nowadays: tell Mom that I am single, unmarried, with no boyfriend and I’m 41…and I’m single because I want to marry Mr. Right, not Mr. Almost-Right!

Don’t settle and be sure. Be sure he is who you want, and love will be there no matter how long! Good luck and I hope to be a guest at your wedding in about 2 years!

Love,
Judy

Love Advice: I’m Dreaming of Another Man

[Originally published for DTM magazine February 2010 Issue #66]
.

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

I am a 27 year old father of two, which makes my problem even more scary: I have dreams about being with another man. I dream about the sexual part…never the kissing or hugging. I am “with” these men in my dreams, and when I wake up, I am very aroused.

The arousal is stronger than when I am “with” my wife, and now I think about being with a guy when I take showers or when I am home alone. Why is the thought about being with another man so arousing to me, and what do I do about it?

– Alberto

 

Dear Alberto,

I am not a dream analysis expert, however, I do know that not all dreams are to be taken literally. In dreams, sometimes sex is about power and aggression. You may be very stressed out at work, or angry with someone, and these dreams give you a way of acting out that rage, especially since you mentioned that there is no kissing or hugging.

However, I am curious that you mentioned that the thought of the dreams arouse you. We don’t always act on our thoughts. Sometimes we can imagine strangling someone we’re angry with, but we don’t do it.

I know what you’re wondering and I know why you wrote in for advice. You are, perhaps, wondering if you are gay?

It is hard to answer because as I mentioned in a previous article, I cannot tell you what YOUR sexual preference is. Only YOU can make that decision for yourself. I think you should reflect on some things: before these dreams, did you ever have a curiosity of men? One a day that you don’t dream of sex with another man, do you find you think about sex with a man anyway? Is the man in your dream a stranger? That would help determine a lot.

Lastly, should you find that you might be (or ARE) gay, take things slowly. I recommend you have a session with a professional who can help you find out in a healthy and unbiased way. Many straight people dream of sex with people of the same sex…and they are still straight. Sometimes, married “straight” people realize years later that they are bisexual.

Get some professional advice and you will eventually know what to do about it. Good luck, Alberto!

Love,
Judy

Love Advice: I Can’t Forget My Ex!

[Originally published for DTM magazine December 2009 Issue #64]
.

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

I am with my boyfriend for over two years and we are planning to get married soon. About a month ago, my friends and I went to a club and I ran into my ex-boyfriend. He looked better than ever and I just wanted to touch and kiss him. We didn’t, because I obviously have a boyfriend and he has a girlfriend, but we have been talking every day since we reunited. We even planned a little weekend trip together. I don’t know if I should try to get him back because all I can think about is him, and I feel horrible because I am going to be engaged soon. What do I do?

-Jen

 

Dear Jen,

Ah, the famous case of the ex-boyfriend! Ladies, whenever you’re in a really pivotal point in your relationship, the ex-boyfriend will show up! It’s almost like he has a radar detector that tells him to come back when you’ve finally found some joy in your life with someone else. But we call him an “X” because WE CROSSED HIM OUT OF OUR LIVES!

There is a reason why your past relationships didn’t work out. Did you suddenly forget why you broke up with your ex in the first place? Also, let’s look at your ex for a second. He has a girlfriend and he’s thinking of cheating on her with you? Don’t you think that means if you reunite with him, he will eventually cheat on you too?

Remember that freestyle song that went, “Temptations is a part of life, it doesn’t matter if it’s wrong or right?” Every relationship at some point will be tested…looks like it’s your turn, Jen! Why would you want to go backward and not forward? It’s like trying to drive a car but constantly looking in the rearview mirror. You’re not going anywhere.

Let’s look at this in another way: you’re only 26, Jen. Nowadays women get married in their 30s and 40s. You may simply not be ready and that is totally okay. I’ve spoken to so many people who have been divorced.

And when I ask them why it didn’t work, almost all of them tell me, “We got married for the wrong reasons.” Ask yourself why you’re getting married. Are they for the right reasons?

I have a sneaky suspicion you are purposely sabotaging yourself, trying to create a situation where he will leave you first. If you’re not ready to be married, don’t do it. If you really want to entertain the ex and find out where it will go, you must cut your ties properly. If you want to marry your current boyfriend, then STOP this madness. Be happy – but be honest with yourself!

By the way, how would you feel if you found out your boyfriend was planning a weekend with his ex? Good luck, Jen!

Love,
Judy

Love Advice: Sex & Marriage

[Originally published for DTM magazine October 2009 Issue #62]
.

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I used to have sex all the time. It was spontaneous, crazy and just plain hot. When our daughter was born, I started to go to sleep really early because she would wake me up everyday at 5 a.m. She is now almost 2 years old, but our sex life is still non-existent.

Most times, I just feel too exhausted, with no time for sex. What can I do to keep my marriage and my sex life hot?

 

Dear Friend,

I’m going to say something a little controversial, but just brace yourself and give it a moment to sink in: your husband — not your children — comes first. I know you all hate me right now, but the truth is that you married your husband. You chose this man to be your partner for life. You raise your children to let them go, and what is left behind? You and your husband. Your daughter is very young right now. One day your daughter will leave the nest, and you and your husband will stare at each other like strangers.

In addition, having children brings a whole new experience of fun, but we don’t anticipate the amount of time it takes to raise them. Women, especially find themselves doing everything.

Where and when in the world is there time for sex? The truth is, when something is very important to you, you make the time.

Before you got married, you dated, correct? So, you and your husband need a good old-fashioned date night! This date night should happen once a week, no matter what! You should sit your husband down and tell him you love him and that you miss the sexiness between the two of you. Talk to a relative or friend to babysit your daughter. You must have personal and private time for just the two of you. It doesn’t have to be expensive – just some one-on-one time where you never discuss bills, children or work.

As far as exhaustion, you also need “alone time.” When your daughter is napping, try meditating, working out, or taking a bubble bath. Do something that makes you feel good. You can’t give your husband and your daughter good attention if you’re not happy. You know what they say: “Happy wife – happy life!”

As far as your sex life being sexy, I don’t think you’ve forgotten a thing. Sometimes the “quickies” can be pretty exciting. Before he goes to work, put a couple of Post-it® Notes with sexy messages all over the house and wear clothes that make you feel sexy. I know you’ll both be very happy. Good luck!

Love,
Judy

Love Advice: Torn Between Two Men

[Originally published in DTM Magazine Issue #59; June 2009]

Judy Torres

Ask Judy

 

Dear Judy,

I have a little dilemma and could use your advice. I am dating two guys for about four months now. They are wonderful, funny, just great, and I don’t know which one to pick. How do I make a decision? I don’t want to lose them both, and things are starting to get more serious. Brian is tall, very successful, lives in a penthouse in the city, but is not that attractive and very loud. Derek is sensitive, good looking, very loving, honest and has great family values, but I have to pay everything for him which kind of bothers me. I heard once somebody say, “Marry the guy you want to get divorced from.”

 

Dear Ms. Dilemma,

You said you once heard, “Marry the guy you want to be divorced from?” Pardon my French, but who the #$% told you that?! Let me tell you something, “When you can’t decide, you’ve already decided.” In other words, I’m not sure you want to be with either one of them. You mention Brian: penthouse, unattractive, loud. Are you saying that he’s worthy of attention because of what he owns? You then mention Derek: good looking, sensitive, but he pays for nothing. Are you saying that because he’s so handsome, it’s worth you paying a heavy price? What’s really important to you here? I am fascinated that there is no mention of love here.

You haven’t told me that you love either of them. A man can offer you the world, wine and dine you, have a penthouse and at the end of the day, he can be emotionally absent and completely devoid of being able to show you any affection or love. There are many good-looking men out there who are sensitive; sensitive enough to realize that you’ve been paying for everything! Hello?

Steve Harvey says in his latest book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man,” that when a man loves you, he will profess (give you a title, “my lady, my woman, my love…”); he will protect (he will be sure no one hurts you and you are generally happy); and he will provide (he will PAY for dinner, he will want to automatically take care of you). Although this thinking is considered old-fashioned, I wholeheartedly agree with him. Let me ask you this: Have either of these men made you feel provided, protected and made you feel like you’re the only woman in the world? Hmm.

Lastly, I don’t mean to judge you, but if you don’t decide soon, one of them will decide for you. You will lose them both. Make a decision today, girlfriend. If you can’t decide, then neither one of them is your man, and you should move on with life and find something called love. My hope for you is that you are not the type of woman who just needs to be with someone, anyone, all the time. By not making a decision, you show your lack of commitment. By not deciding you are procrastinating and forcing someone else to decide your destiny. Don’t do that – you take control. Who do you love, really love? That’s your answer. Good luck!